Jan. 11th, 2017

Santiago!

Jan. 11th, 2017 07:58 pm
vinceconaway: (Default)
What a day it has been!

My plane landed in Santiago shortly before 10am and I cleared customs and immigration with no hassle. I caught a shuttle bus into the city and checked in to my hostel for the night. It's the only night of the tour where I'll be sleeping in a dorm, and it's been fun getting to know some fellow travellers. It's quite a mixed group, surprisingly close to my own age and including a professor and quite a few hikers.

The bed wasn't ready when I arrived, so I left my things and went for a few hours of walking through the city. It was surreal because I know I've been here and spent the night, but absolutely nothing about the city is familiar whatsoever. It feels like total Terra Incognita, and I've enjoyed exploring with a fresh eye. Tomorrow I head to Valparaiso, which I expect to be more familiar since I spent a delightful week there in 2014.

I spent a bit of time today reassembling my dulcimer; I slack the strings for air travel. Its builder has laughed at my abundance of caution, but it makes for much less stressful flights to know that my baby is completely unencumbered and is built to withstand 3000 pounds of tension. In a very rare occurrence, both my flights (CLE>ATL and ATL>SCL) were large enough aircraft that I was able to bring the dulcimer on board with me. Quite often the domestic leg is in a smaller plane and I need to gate check it with the strollers. If I'd known it would be overhead luggage the whole route I might not have spent the time taking the tension out of the strings, but gate checking is always at the last minute and I like to be prepared.

I feel quite well! With only a two-hour time difference I have no jet lag, just fatigue from a very fitful night in a small space. It could have been worse, of course, since I had an empty seat beside me which I shared with the woman on the other side of it so we could both spread out a little. I'm taking it as a good omen for the tour that on a pretty full flight I got such a luxury.

Of course, now that I've arrived I'm realizing my packing mistakes. I forgot sunblock, which was easily rectified at a corner pharmacy (though not before I got a little sun on my afternoon wander). More interestingly, I brought too many dark shirts. I'm used to coordinating outfits with jeans, but this time I decided to adopt a more formal look with black slacks and I probably should have taken that into account when choosing the rest of my clothes. I did run across a gentleman in a similar outfit, however, and his look screamed "musician" so I think I'll be OK.

My phone says that my "strolls" involved 11 miles of walking today, so I'm calling that a win. I certainly feel I've got a better grip on the city, and maybe it'll be a bit less foreign the next time I turn up. Tomorrow I'm off to Valparaiso, the standout city of my 2014 South America tour!

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